Summer Hours Begin June 2

Our summer worship schedule will begin on Sunday, June 2, at 10 a.m.  Adult Christian Education classes will meet at 9 a.m.

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Why Do We Observe Memorial Day?

In the song, “What Did He Die For?”, Twila Paris reminds us why we observe Memorial Day–and why we worship Jesus as our Savior. The first verse tells of a 21-year-old fighting for America’s freedom during World War II. The second verse recalls another young man, many centuries prior, sent by his Father to win eternal freedom from sin for the entire world.

“What did he die for when he died fr you and me, made the sacrifice so that we could all be free?  I believe we will answer each to heaven for the way we spend a priceless liberty.  Look inside and ask the question, ‘what did he die for?'”

Memorial Day challenges us to live as to honor the sacrifices made by members of the military. We value our freedom because of the heavy price people have paid for it. Likewise, every day we are challenged to live so as to honor Jesus’ supreme sacrifice. He calls us to spend our “priceless liberty” using our blessings to bless others.

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Lesson of the Pancakes

One Saturday morning, six-year-old Bryan decided to fix his parents pancakes for breakfast. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard, and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor. He scooped up some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk, and added some sugar leaving behind a floury trail on the floor which, by now, had a few tracks left by the kitten. Bryan himself was covered with flour and getting very frustrated.

He wanted this to be something very good and special for his Mom and Dad, but the scene was getting very bad. He did not know what to do next–whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove. He did remember that he did not know how the stove worked!  Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kitty licking from the bowl of mix and as he reached over to push her away, he knocked the egg carton onto the floor. Frantically, he tried to clean up this monumental mess, but he slipped on the eggs, and his pajamas became all white and sticky.

Just then, he saw Dad standing at the door. Big crocodile tears welled up in Bryan’s eyes.  All he wanted to do was something good, but he had made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming–maybe even a spanking, but his father just watched him. The father then went to his crying son, picked him up in his arms, and hugged and loved him getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process.

That is how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky, we insult a friend, we can no longer tolerate our job, or our health goes sour. Sometimes, we just stand there in tears because we cannot think of anything else to do. That is when God picks us up and hugs and loves us–even when our messes get all over God.

Just because we make a mess, however, does not mean that we should not stop trying to “make pancakes” for others and for God. Sooner or later, we are going to get it right, and then we will be glad we kept on trying. We may even learn how to use the stove!

Because Christ lives in us as believers, we can remain faithful and confident through all things. Perseverance reveals that our faith is real. Without this enduring faithfulness, we could easily be blown away by the winds of temptation, false teachings or a multitude of other of life’s curves that may come our way.

“May we never tire of doing what is good and right before our Lord because in his season we shall bring in a great harvest if we can just persist. So seize any opportunity the Lord gives you to do good things and be a blessing to everyone, especially those within our faithful family.”  (Galatians 6:9-10)

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The Way Forward (Acts 9:1-6, (7-20)

“Saul got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.”  Acts 9:20.

“Jesus said to Simon Peter ‘Feed my sheep….'”  John 21:17

In an act of compassionate faith, the followers of the risen Christ share a meal with Saul, their former persecutor. Sharing food is a ritual long associated with peace-making. More than simple nutrients, food is imbued with the legacy of local soil, the people’s covenant with the land, and the just or unjust practices of the community. Each morsel is laden with the culture, identity, and values of the communal body and the spirit of those who have gathered, grown prepared and offered it. When Christians share food, we share the blessing and power of the body of Christ.

This has been true for Reverend Randy Mayer, pastor of Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in Sahuarita, Arizona, who welcomed an asylum-seeking family escaping domestic and gang violence in Honduras into his home in 2018. This was at the time the Department of Justice began changing the rules indicating that domestic and gang violence may not qualify families for asylum. “Having an Asylum Family sitting at your dinner table and on your couch watching TV in your living room is quite the experience as you are listening to the evening news,” Mayer said. “Maybe that is the best way to get through an experience like this–having the stranger sitting right in front of you, loving her family and proving right before your eyes that the ugly rhetoric and hate-filled comments have nothing to do with the truth.”

As you walk in faith this week, consider taking the following acts to welcome others into the circle of God’s grace:

  • Meet your neighbors and invite them to enjoy a meal together.
  • Work through your church to plan an immigrant welcoming dinner.
  • Lift up in prayer those who seek asylum and those who would turn them away.
  • Prepare food from a culture that is new to you and share with friends.
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Road Trip to the Ohio State Reformatory, Mansfield, Ohio

The Tuesday morning ladies’ group is planning a road trip to visit the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield on Wednesday, May 29, carpooling from the church at 9:30 a.m. We need at least 20 people in order to have a tour guide. The cost is $18 for 20 people, or $15 if we get 20 or more. Please feel free to invite your family and friends since we need so many to get our discount. A sign-up sheet is located in the church sanctuary, or you may contact the church office at 419-358-5641.  This is the prison where the Shawshank Redemption movie was filmed.

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Calling All Musicians

During the summer months the St. John’s choir members are on hiatus.  If you, or someone you know, is musically talented and would like to offer special music for a worship service during the months of June through August, please inform Pastor Carol or Nancy Yeager.

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Projection Screen Needed

The church is in need of a projection screen for the first two Sundays in June.  If you have one that could be borrowed, please let her know.

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Church Camp Registration Forms Available

Registration forms are available for Templed Hills, our UCC church camp, from Pastor Carol. If you have never attended grandparents camp with your grandchild(ren), Pastor Carol highly recommends it. Please see her to learn of her wonderful memories and experiences at camp with her grandchildren.

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This Week at St. John’s UCC

Centering Words for May 19:   Compassionate Lord, whose Son gave himself unselfishly to his followers and commanded those followers to love one another in the same way, instill in us a genuine love for one another, that our world may be convinced we are disciples of Jesus in whose name we pray.  Amen.

Sunday, May 19:  Worship, 10:30 a.m.  Pastor Carol’s meditation is titled “Does Love Grow Here?”, and is based on John 13:31-35.  Consistory meets following worship.  There will be a coffee hour in Oppermann Hall following the worship service.

Tuesday, May 21–Ladies meet at LuLu’s, 9 a.m.; TOPS, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, May 22–Men meet at Arby’s, 8:30 a.m.

Thursday, May 23–Bluffton High School Baccalaureate service

Saturday, May 25–Bluffton High School graduation

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen

If you would like to volunteer for helping serve at Our Daily Bread soup kitchen in Lima on Tuesday,  May 28, 2019,  please sign up on the bulletin board in the sanctuary.  Helpers are always welcome.

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